May 31, 2010—00:19
Just got back in to the hotel. We had gone out for dinner at a little Italian place down the road and then headed out to Long Street in search of some live music. There had been a three-piece cover band at the restaurant playing American rock and pop but we were on the prowl for something more eclectic.
Our faces fell as soon as the taxi pulled up to Mama Africa. The bar, and all the surrounding venues, was closed up tight. Long Street, which had been a bustling thoroughfare just the night before, was all but deserted. We quickly regained our composure and struck out down Long Street, determined to find somewhere to grab a drink and listen to some music. The Dubliner, an Irish pub that attracted a largely British and American crowd (or at least did when we were there) was blasting rock numbers played by some fellow with a guitar and a laptop. The Dubliner was hopping and we decided to move on and return if nothing else looked promising.
While standing outside the Long Street Cafe, a lovely restaurant and bar we had spent some time in the previous night, the group had the idea to check an upstairs terrace we had noticed last night. The terrace belonged to a backpackers’ hostel named Carnival Court, a second-story walk-up guarded by a doorman who frisked each of the guys in the group and even demanded an I.D. from one (he was a little flummoxed by the Texas driver’s license that was produced).
As soon as we reached the top of the stairs, we knew we had found the right place. Jazz poured into the night through the open terrace doors. The floor’s wide wooden beams reverberated with each note from the bass while our hearts beat in time with the kick. Though three guitarists rotated throughout the night, the bassist and drummer remained constant. All five of the men were tremendously talented and it was a real joy to just sit and listen to them. The smiles on our group members’ faces were some of the widest I’ve yet seen. We lingered there until closing and I know there were several of us who wished closing time might have been a little later, so that we could have listened a bit longer. As we left, we lamented that our time here in Cape Town is so short. I know I at least cannot wait to return.